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Police Pledge Protection for NLC Protesters Amid Government Calls for Cancellation

By Grace Chigbu

The Nigeria Police Force has assured peaceful protesters participating in rallies organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) of protection, as the federal government urges the cancellation of the planned demonstrations.


Police spokesperson Muyiwa Adejobi stated on Monday that police commissioners across all states have been instructed to ensure the safety of protesters during the NLC-led protests against the rising cost of living, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. This comes in response to concerns raised by the NLC regarding potential sabotage and attacks on protesters.


Adejobi emphasized the police force’s commitment to upholding the rights and freedoms of protesters while maintaining law and order. He assured that officers are prepared to respond swiftly to any unlawful activities or acts of violence that may threaten public peace and security during the protests.


Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has appealed to the NLC to reconsider the planned protests, citing the government’s fulfillment of over 85% of the agreements reached with Labour in September 2023. Despite this claim, key demands from Labour, including a significant increase in workers’ salaries, remain unmet.


Since the removal of subsidies on petrol and the floating of the naira by President Tinubu, the prices of goods and services in Nigeria have soared by over 200%, exacerbating the economic hardships faced by citizens. However, there has been no corresponding increase in workers’ salaries.


While the government has initiated committees to address the issue of salary increases, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, urged the NLC to acknowledge the government’s efforts and not allow external influences to hijack the situation.


Additionally, the FEC approved the continuation of payments to vulnerable households under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP). Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, assured that appropriate measures would be implemented to verify beneficiaries using their BVN, NIN, and account details or electronic wallets. The reintroduction of the NSIP aims to alleviate the challenges faced by vulnerable Nigerians, with 12 million households set to benefit immediately from the N25,000 initiative.


As tensions mount ahead of the planned protests, the assurances from both the police and the federal government seek to balance the rights of citizens to peaceful assembly with the imperative of maintaining public order. The outcome of the NLC’s decision regarding the protests will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of labor relations and socio-political dynamics in Nigeria in the coming days.


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